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updated: 1/4/2012 5:18 AM

Barrington library could get $5.7 million upgrade

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  • Barrington Area Library officials are considering a $5.7 million renovation of the current facility at 505 N. Northwest Highway, built in 1978, to make it more adaptable to the needs of the 21st century.

       Barrington Area Library officials are considering a $5.7 million renovation of the current facility at 505 N. Northwest Highway, built in 1978, to make it more adaptable to the needs of the 21st century.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

Barrington Area Library officials are mulling a $5.7 million renovation to help meet what they consider to be some lingering needs following the failure of the 2008 referendum that proposed a whole new building.

Library board President Donald Minner said the plan currently being worked on would make the 33-year-old building more user-friendly and adaptive to the needs of the 21st century.

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"The library has really become more than a place with books sitting on a shelf," he said.

A significant percentage of the proposed project would address maintenance issues that are now coming due and mechanical improvements. Minner said it makes sense to get whatever other improvements might lie in the library's near future done at the same time.

"I believe the time is right to do it," he said.

Nevertheless, he expects further board discussions to be necessary -- taking anywhere from one to three months. He expects a vote mostly likely to come in February.

Funding for the project would not require a referendum, but instead could come from the library's existing reserves.

"Most of the trustees are in agreement that a referendum is not in the future for us," Minner said.

Library Executive Director Detlev Pansch said that if the board votes in favor of the project, there would be a six-month period for design and bidding followed by nine months of construction.

Though changes will not be apparent from outside the building, patrons will notice a much better layout of space within as well as rooms adapted to the use of modern devices like tablets and e-book readers.

Minner doesn't anticipate having to shut down the library at any point during construction, but said there could be minor inconveniences including the shifting around of materials as certain areas of the building become unusable for short periods.

Pansch said efforts would be made to ensure that patrons not feel they're adjacent to a construction site.

The board's winter meetings at which the project will likely be discussed further will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 9, Feb. 13 and March 12.

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